Every bit as stupid as World War I, if not more so

Anyone with one brain cell to rub up against the next knows that, whatever your political predilections, going to war with Iran is a fuck-up beyond belief. This isn’t about the rightness or wrongness of colonial attitudes or of capitalism. It’s not even about the humanity or inhumanity of our actions or intentions. It’s about a delusion heaped upon delusion that we can successfully impose our will.[1]

In response to Iraq’s move to expel U.S. troops, Donald Trump is threatening severe sanctions.[2] Those with any memory at all will recall that the last round killed hundreds of thousands of children, especially under five years of age,[3] these were the sanctions of which Madeleine Albright infamously said, “This is a very hard choice, but the price, we think the price is worth it,”[4] and that this was one reason cited by Osama bin Laden for the 9/11 attacks.[5] Which is to say, we’re asking for it all, all of it, every disastrous bit of it, to happen again. There simply are no words for how absolutely fucking disastrously stupid this is.

And for what?

But critics inside and outside the administration have questioned [Mike] Pompeo’s justification for the strike [that killed Qasem Soleimani] based on his claims that “dozens if not hundreds” of American lives were at risk.

Lawmakers left classified briefings with U.S. intelligence officials on Friday saying they heard nothing to suggest that the threat posed by the proxy forces guided by Soleimani had changed substantially in recent months.[6]

It seems Mike Pompeo is simply obsessed with Iran and just doesn’t really give a damn about anything else.[7]

And I guess I’m just clueless: I can’t even fathom the value of attacking Islamic shrines, as Trump has now repeatedly threatened to do.[8]

This has got to be at least as stupid as World War I. At least.

  1. [1]See my blog post from yesterday: David Benfell, “Tit for tat and the path to war, raging narcissist-in-chief style,” Not Housebroken, January 5, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/01/05/tit-for-tat-and-the-path-to-war-raging-narcissist-in-chief-style/
  2. [2]Erin Cunningham, “Iran announces it is suspending its commitments to the 2015 nuclear deal,” Washington Post, January 5, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/body-of-commander-slain-by-us-strike-arrives-in-iran-to-crowds-of-mourners/2020/01/05/4ca3281a-2f17-11ea-bffe-020c88b3f120_story.html
  3. [3]Mohamed M. Ali and Iqbal H. Shah, “Sanctions and childhood mortality in Iraq,” Lancet 355, no. 9218 (May 27, 2000), doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(00)02289-3
  4. [4]Madeleine Albright, quoted in David Rieff, “Were Sanctions Right?” New York Times, July 27, 2003, https://www.nytimes.com/2003/07/27/magazine/were-sanctions-right.html
  5. [5]I am no longer able to locate this interview. It was translated by CNN. Osama bin Laden also cited the one-sided U.S. policy in support of Israel and the presence of U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia.
  6. [6]John Hudson et al., “Killing of Soleimani follows long push from Pompeo for aggressive action against Iran, but airstrike brings serious risks,” Washington Post, January 5, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/killing-of-soleimani-follows-long-push-from-pompeo-for-aggressive-action-against-iran-but-airstrike-brings-serious-risks/2020/01/05/092a8e00-2f7d-11ea-be79-83e793dbcaef_story.html
  7. [7]John Hudson et al., “Killing of Soleimani follows long push from Pompeo for aggressive action against Iran, but airstrike brings serious risks,” Washington Post, January 5, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/killing-of-soleimani-follows-long-push-from-pompeo-for-aggressive-action-against-iran-but-airstrike-brings-serious-risks/2020/01/05/092a8e00-2f7d-11ea-be79-83e793dbcaef_story.html
  8. [8]David Smith, “Suleimani killing: Donald Trump defends threat to target cultural sites in Iran,” Guardian, January 6, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jan/06/suleimani-killing-donald-trump-defends-threat-to-hit-cultural-sites-in-iran

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